If you’re a regular reader, you may remember back at the end of June, I picked up a doll at a thrift store to see what I could do with her. I’ve been working on her off and on now, I had to take a break when I hurt my back, but once I got to feeling better, I started working on her again. When I got her, she looked like this:
The evening I brought her home I decided I would start combing and see what happened. It didn’t take me long to realize that not only was her hair a tangled mess, but it was dirty too. Off to the bathroom for a hair wash! It was amazing how much that helped, I hate to think just how dirty her hair was before that. I combed it all out, what a rats nest! I had to clean the brush out a couple of times because it was full of loose hair. After I was done combing it, this is what she looked like:
Not perfect, but definitely better than what it was. It was at this point she got her name. I had her standing in the living room (as I often do with a new doll) and my husband walked past. Keep in mind that my husband was a huge Brady Bunch fan growing up. He stopped, looked at the doll and said “she looks like Jan Brady!” I laughed and well, when my husband says something about a doll, that is a “mark it on the calendar” kind of moment, so I knew at that point her name had to be Jan. I could just picture her saying “Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!!”
I wondered if perhaps I could soften those ends up with a Downy dunk, so Jan got to spend 24 hours soaking her hair. What a letdown, it didn’t work and just left her with a super bad case of the greasies. At this point I started to wonder just what kind of abuse her hair had been subjected to. I originally had thought about giving her the iron treatment, but after seeing the results of this, I vetoed that. I really think that poor Jan had been subjected to a hair dry/blowout involving a heat source–either a heater vent or worse yet, a blow dryer!!!! (EEEEEKKKKK!!!!!) Word of advice–NEVER EVER use a hairdryer on doll hair. It will fry it so fast, and in some cases will cause it to break off or come out in clumps. Yes, I speak from a traumatic childhood experience…
I couldn’t leave Jan with a bad case of the greasies, the poor girl had enough issues already, what with being one of six kids and a having a highly competitive older sister. So I washed her hair again, and don’t laugh–in dog shampoo. I have a shampoo that is extra gentle, and I really didn’t want to subject her hair to anything else since it was already so bad. Plus now I know she doesn’t have fleas. The good news is it took the fabric softener out and didn’t damage her hair anymore than it already was.
At this point I gave her a haircut, trimming close to an inch and a half to two inches off, depending on where it was. I think she originally may have had ponytails or braids as she has a very distinct back center part, so her hair was horribly uneven. I gave her a blunt cut, and at this point I came upon an interesting discovery that seemed to confirm that her hair had been exposed to heat. While the outer hair was a fried mess, the under hair was actually in near perfect condition. I debated on giving her a layered haircut all over, but I tried it with the front first, and because the top layer is sooooo dry, all that did was make it stick out worse. Oh well, I tried. After I gave her a haircut, I sprayed it heavily with braid spray, combed it through well and then let her sit for a good week so that could really soak in.
Now she needed some serious cleaning too. This poor girl, not only was she abused by her previous owner, but the thrift store didn’t help matters any either.
They stuck the price tag on her foot which was fine, but then they wrote on it and her as well!!!! And when I pulled the price tag off, it left behind some nasty sticky residue on her foot. I needed to pull out my secret weapon:
UN-DU to the rescue!!! If you aren’t familiar with Un-Du, let me tell you about it. I discovered the wonders of Un-Du when I worked as a picture framer. It also comes in very handy if you do any kinds of paper crafting (scrapbooking, card making, etc). Just a little bit of Un-Du will release most (not all) adhesives. If used in paper crafting just because you didn’t like the placement of something, carefully remove the piece after using the Un-Du where the adhesive is, set it aside until it dries and then restick it–no additional adhesive is usually needed! In this situation I saturated the area where the adhesive was at, then wiped it thoroughly with a paper towel until it was clean, then wiped the area off with a damp rag. Not only did it take off all of the adhesive residue, but some of the marker. I’ve decided she just has a birth mark.
She also appeared to have been “cleaned” previously, she had some white residue on her chest and this glob of stuff in her eye. I carefully picked that out with tweezers and then wiped with a damp paper towel. I got most of it, she doesn’t look like she has an eye snot thing going now.
Now I needed to clean up her body a bit. She has some mysterious marks on her cloth body, I’m not sure if they were marker, grease, makeup or what. I took a lightly dampened Magic Eraser to them, and while it didn’t remove them completely, it did lighten them up. She also had some marks on her leg and a little one on her face, those thankfully all came off with a few swipes of the Magic Eraser.
Marks of unknown origin, after cleaning:
Now it was time for her “spa” treatment:
Ahhhh, baking soda, the wonderful household product. What, you don’t keep a 4 pound box around???? Truth be told, I make my own laundry soap and it is one of the ingredients in it, so I always have a huge box in my cupboard of supplies. It is so useful for so many things, from getting stale soap odor out of bath towels, putting out grease fires (I know this from first hand experience!) taking odors away, cleaning drains–look it up on the internet sometime! It also is very handy in cleaning dolls. 🙂
I didn’t take any pics of this part of the process as I’m sure most of you have seen it over and over again and if you haven’t already, believe me, there are plenty of websites and videos showing the process. After I got her all nice and (semi) clean, I set her in front of a fan to dry as she did have some wet spots on her body from where I tried to clean off those marks. After she was dried, I found her a cute summer outfit and she was ready for her close up!
And here’s a shot with the top part of the hair pulled up so you can see that the under hair is in great condition, too bad that the top layer is so fried. I still may trim it some, I haven’t decided yet.
And some nice shots of her, relieved to be finished and looking out the window.
The obligatory before/after shot:
A couple of things that I will point out–Our Generation doll hair is definitely not the same as American Girl hair, so using some of the same techniques used to treat AG hair might not be such a great idea. OG dolls are also constructed differently than AG dolls, while both may have cloth bodies, their arms and legs are connected differently and their heads are definitely flanged differently. When I was working on Abby’s hair, I had no difficulty at all with her being rigid as I combed. Jan was all over the place, her neck would bend every time I pulled, making it a bit of a hassle to try and comb it out.
I think overall, she turned out okay and was definitely worth taking a chance on for $1.95. I’m debating on giving her some freckles around her nose. She may get some more hair trimming, that’s still up for grabs. I also saw where Brenda over at The Savage Dolls had redone an OG and painted on some eyelashes to give that doll a more feminine look, so might try that too. I haven’t figured out how I’m going to work her into the stories just yet, I’m thinking she will be a girl that goes to school with the gang here. But her name will always be Jan.
If you happen to know which doll this is, I would love to hear. I’m not all that familiar with OG dolls, just OG accessories. Please leave who you think she might actually be in the comments, thanks!